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Buff Vs Snood: Differences And How To Choose

December 21, 2022
Buff Vs Snood: Differences And How To Choose

They may not seem that similar, but they are easily confused. People tend to have a tough time identifying each of them. So, what’s the difference between a buff and a snood?

A “buff” is a tubular, microfiber garment that can be worn in a variety of ways around the neck, face, and head. “Snoods” are looped scarves made from chunky knits that sit high up on the neck and often act as a hood, similar to a hairnet. 

Let’s discuss the differences in more detail, as well as how to choose between them. 

Buff Vs Snood: Key Differences

Understanding the differences is the first step to knowing which one to choose. 

1. Origins

The term “buff” was coined in 1991 as a registered trademark of BUFF® USA.

Here’s an example of a Buff on Amazon: 

Thanks to its huge popularity, the word “buff” has become a generic word for this type of covering. In fact, it’s often incorrectly used to refer to items that aren’t buffs at all. 

Historically, the snood was an ornamental hairnet or fabric bag worn over the hair at the back of a woman’s head. It originated in Scotland.

Here’s an example of a snood.

example of a snood
Image From Deposit Photos

The snood scarf was introduced as a stylish alternative to hairnets during World War II as women began entering the workforce. 

In the modern era, both snoods and buffs are worn by both men and women. 

2. Material

The buff is usually made of a light, moisture-wicking, polyester microfiber. It’s this fabric that makes it so versatile, appropriate for use throughout the year. 

Some buffs come with a fleece or merino wool for added warmth. 

Snoods are usually made from cloth or loosely knitted yarn. 

Their often chunkier knits are more appropriate for colder weather, ideal for keeping the neck warm. 

3. Versatility

Ultimately, the buff is a more versatile item than the snood when it comes to the number of ways in which it can be worn. 

While you’ve got a few options with a snood, the buff can be worn in many different ways. 

Common ways in which the buff is worn include the following: 

  • Neckerchief
  • Headband
  • Wristband
  • Hairband
  • Neck warmer (or “Gaiter”)
  • Balaclava
  • Scarf
  • Scrunchie
  • Beanie
  • Bandana 

Snoods do come with some versatility. 

Remember, it’s essentially just a looped scarf. You’ve got the option of simply wearing it like a simple infinity scarf to protect the neck. 

However, you’ve also got the option of pulling it over your head and wearing it like a hood. This will give you the benefit of added protection for the back of your head and ears. 

Buff Vs Snood: How To Choose

Consider these factors when choosing between a buff and a snood. 

1. “All-In-One”

If you want a garment that’s essentially an “all-in-one”, go for a buff. 

As you can see from the list of options we posted above, it can do pretty much anything you could want it to from the neck up. 

It gives you so many options that you potentially wouldn’t need anything else. It’s as functional as they come. 

You could use it as a headband or a wristband while jogging to handle sweat. Alternatively, you could wear it as a beanie to protect your ears from the cold. 

The light microfiber polyester they’re usually made from make them suitable for use throughout the year as well. 

What’s interesting is that buffs can also act as a makeshift bag when you’ve got nothing else to use.

The snood is not an all-in-one. There’s a pretty specific way in which they should be worn, as we described in the last section. 

If this isn’t the way in which you need to wear it, the snood wouldn’t be for. But there’s a good chance the buff may do it for you. 

2. Weather

As I mentioned earlier, the buff is so versatile that it can be used in most weather conditions ranging from cool to hot. 

In most climates, you’ll probably find some use for it. 

The snood isn’t quite as versatile, but in many ways it’s going to be more useful than a buff in colder weather. 

When the temperatures really are pretty low, it’s pretty likely that the chunky knit of a snood is going to keep the back of your neck, head, and ears warmer than a buff would. 

While a buff would offer some protection against the cold, it wouldn’t be as effective. The fabric they’re made from is usually quite light and doesn’t offer as much defense as a snood would. 

3. Style

While opinions may vary on this one, in general, a snood will come across more stylish than a buff would. 

While buffs can come in a huge range of colors and patterns, they prioritize function over style. 

They’re ideal for joggers, hikers, athletes, and others who need a functional item of clothing that can serve a variety of purposes. 

The snood is also functional. After all, it offers great protection against the cold. However, it can also be considered more of a fashion accessory. 

The heavier knits make them just as appropriate to wear when you don’t need any sort of protection or functionality. 

You just need a great winter accessory that looks good. A snood can do that for you. 


There you have it. Hopefully, everything you needed to know about the differences between buffs and snoods.